Strange Blue Tournament Report

Mixed Tour 2

16-17.April.2011 - Cardiff


So apparently I have the honour of writing another reflective yet upbeat report about SB's latest adventure at Mixed Tour 2 in Cardiff. Again it's unlikely to be concise so apologies for that!

Some people went down early for Elliots 'day of fun,' some people didn't, but like a well oiled machine we all gathered on Friday evening and set up camp. MEMO- If you camp in Cardiff, bring a mallet, the ground is rock hard, fortunately despite our poorly pegged tents the light winds meant it wasn't a problem. This lack of wind also opened up good 'boosting' possibilities but more about that later.

SB was
Myself, Mikey, Hannah, Lauren, Jess, Anna, Tom B, Claire, Nick SD, Jassy, Humphs, Dan M, Anna, Adam B.

We were seeded 17th and in a pool with High Altitude, Scarecrew and BAF.

High Altitude 13 - 7 SB

High Altitude looked to have a strong team with some great handling experience and impressive ladies. Our offence was pretty good in this game at times, though we didn't use the width of the pitch enough, when we did we scored some sweet goals, including SB mixed trademark boosts to ladies cutting deep. Sadly on defence they made light work of breaking our forces, especially with around breaks which opened up easy scoring passes. We played some FM which did slow them up a bit but overall they were deserved winners. I think the score was about 13-7 or so, High Altitude went on to make the final so it wasn't too shabby a perfomance on reflection.

Scarecrew 13 - 10 SB

Scarecrew had Elliot and Emily in their ranks and this turned out to be a great game of mixed ultimate. We used long discs to great effect early on and they had real problems shutting this down, they also had some great long puts for goals which made for some spectacular plays. In the second half of this game we perhaps boosted it a little too often to sketchy options when our earlier throws had given us more than enough space to hit the underneath cuts which often were there. They did this slightly better than us and won 13-10ish I think but overall our performance in this game was very pleasing.

BAF 12 - 10 SB

We had beaten BAF relatively comfortably in the first game of the previous tour but they had a much stronger squad here and were a far more difficult proposition. Again at times our offence clicked really well but we didn't bring enough pressure in our defence early on which meant they were scoring lots of O points too. A couple of times at crucial stages we showed inexperience and took some dubious decisions, especially after getting the disc moving against their zone. We also let a few too many breaks out again when strong forces were required. They did a better job of bringing stuff down than us and took the game 12-10 leaving us bottom of our pool and having to win a crucial crossover.

SB 13 - 7 Shakedown

Failure to win this game would leave us unable to finish higher than 25th. We started strongly with some great O points but they did likewise and we traded breaks to end up 5-5. Then since we felt their women weren't hurting us but we were doing a bad job at shutting down their guys we switched to 'Glam' defence with 3 lady poaches. This was really effective and in the end we ran out comfortable and deserved winners, think it was about 13-7.

Day 1 Summary.
When we were good we were incredible, especially on offence, with some sweet long connections and some excellent flow. However a few times we were guilty of 'tunnelling' for low percentage long options and we didn't take enough opportunities to swing the disc. On defence we created pressure at times especially with some effective poaching but we too often gave up easy 10-15 yard gains underneath, we also let a few too many up the line dumps out which made things difficult for the defence downfield. When we trusted our forces and covered the open side we created great pressure and forced turns frequently.

Evening, we meandered into Cardiff and ate at the bay. Mikey and Matt had an impressive amount of food between them and a good time was had by all. We started the party after Dan had been thoroughly confused by one of the locals. Alas it was a relatively lame party and we were pretty tired so we left early.

Sun greeted us once more on Day 2, in fact the weather was beautiful all weekend.

Flaming Galahs 13 - 8 SB

We'd had a great game against Galahs at the last mixed tour and although there had been a few changes to both squads this was always likely to be a close game. We started on fire with a couple of long boosts for goals including a huge layout from Hannah on an mildly imperfect disc. They couldn't live with us on man so they reverted to zone which we worked it around expertly (most of the time) to take the half at 7-4. What happened next was the most disappointing period of the whole weekend. We stopped doing all the things we'd been doing well and started taking really low percentage options, whether they be extravagant cross pitch swings needlessly missing out wide open handlers or incredibly low percentage boosts to ladies positioned next to their (former GB-open) deep deep. A dropped pull from myself definitely didn't help things and our defence was also not up to standard, we let their two best handlers get the disc back far too easily and they broke our forces at will. They took the match 13-8, winning the second half 9-1, but I hope we all learnt some valuable lessons, this was definitely a game we could have won had we kept doing the simple things well. On they plus side they did give us 2 MVP cupcakes which was a nice touch.

SB 13 - 7 Bristol 2

Bristol 2 had a couple of very handy handlers and so despite this being a second team we knew it would be no walkover. In the event I think we played really well for the majority of this game, Nick SD took one huge layout and in general we worked the underneath much better than we had previously been doing whilst still finding time for the odd boost here and there. There was one lengthy stoppage for a discussion where few players seemed to know the rules (people who do play at tour I would really encourage you to read them in full - good rules knowledge is the first step to good spirit!) but overall the flow we showed was excellent. A far cry from the later stages of the previous game, we won 13-7.

SB 13 - 8 Light and Dark

These were a good team who were disappointed to find themselves in such a lowly position, we knew we'd have to play well to beat them. Fortunately we put in comfortably our best performance of the weekend. After opening up with some trademark boosts we then made really intelligent use of the space underneath. It was Matts turn to make a huge layout grab in this game and we SWUNG the disc to much greater effect than we had done previously (the presence of some guy called Nick who'd wandered over from GB-mixed practice definitely helped with this!) and this opened up more space. On defence we made them work really hard for every disc and were never satisfied to give up easy underneath throws. This meant they had to resort to sketchy long options which we did a great job of getting people under, we also shut down their handlers to good effect. We won 13-8 and I have no doubt that if we'd managed to play like this against Galahs, BAF and maybe even Scarecrew we'd have had great shots at winning those games.

It was extremely pleasing to see the improvements we made on Sunday, taking the second half against Galahs out of the equation (and even that was better than the game we promised never to speak of again!) we played really good offence and tight defence. When we marked hard and held our forces we put good handlers under real pressure. When we used the width and the underneaths as well as boosting stuff we really stretched other teams into places which they had no desire to be in. If we can remember what made the good times good and work on what made the bad times bad then hopefully we can use the weekend as a really positive experience. IMPORTANTLY even when we were losing we still had fun and we were still positive which led to improved performances later on!

Random Observations
1) Jess managed to take even more photo's here than at MT1, impressive
2) SB does tent and lift organisation in the most painfully convoluted manner possible
3) Boosting the disc is fun, and effective, but sometimes it's a good idea not to do it all the time!
4) The force is the key to good defence
5) Adam has the best tent in SB
6) Mixed Ultimate is great, Mixed Ultimate in the sun is even better!
7) STRADA don't sell pickled eggs
8) Peanut Butter covered peanuts are good, but banana malt loaf is better